Blogger Thomas P. M. Barnett on the Russophile blame game:
Blaming Russia's bottoming-out (with the rebound already begun) on "reforms" is simplistic in the extreme.
The Soviet Union was long shielded from markets and liability. When Russia was suddenly thrust into that world, the country found that much of what it owned was useless, much of what it made was useless, and much of what it knew was useless. Decades of pushing pregnancies yielded to a demographic decline by volition. Comparing that to the tens of millions killed by Hitler or Stalin is nonsense.
What caused Russia's collapse was 70 years of socialism, not reforms, which merely pulled the curtain back on that vast human tragedy. Watching Russia emerge from that disastrous period is like watching America recover after the Civil War or China after the Cultural Revolution: it's a good 25 year shadow.
Socialism was a huge menace to life, liberty, happiness, and wealth in the USSR, just like it was everywhere else.
Russia's population now heads toward a number it can sustain rather than one artificially manufactured by the state. That is not a tragedy. It is a reality Russia imposed on itself.
Saying the reforms caused the collapse is like accusing the chemo of creating the cancer. It plays into silly stabbed-in-the-back fantasies that some in Russia entertain, preferring to blame the USSR's collapse on outsiders. Indulging such fantasies should be avoided at all costs.